I’m So Done With Daylight Savings Time
No matter who wins, I hope they put an end to this silly business.
We don’t talk about it much in politics, but there is this thing we do twice a year, every year, with our clocks. We move them back one hour like we did today. We move them forward one hour in the spring. We do this every year with powerful and negative effects on us, with no real economic benefit for anyone. We do Daylight Savings Time as if we’re really helping ourselves when we’re not.
To be sure, this routine is less of a burden now than it used to be. Most of our clocks are connected now. Our phones, our TVs, and smart displays all have connected clocks, so they change the time automatically. We even have smartwatches that are connected to the internet and they adjust the time automatically.
Anything that is connected to the internet has a clock and they all sync to a time server. I even have a clock that uses a radio signal from the naval observatory in Denver to sync the time. That one changed automatically. I still have a few that are disconnected, in my car, one on a wall and the microwave oven and the stove — they still require manual adjustment.
In the fall, the return to standard time is cool. Spring forward, fall back, they say. So we set our clocks back one hour and that gives us an extra hour for a few mornings while our body clocks adjust. It’s an easy adjustment to make. That much I don’t mind. But as a former server administrator, I know what it’s like to lose sleep wondering if all the servers made the change. it’s better now for sure, but the effort is still required to verify everything.
Spring is different. We still adjust clocks and check our servers. But recent studies are turning up that show that every spring, there are more accidents, more medical problems, and just more stress in general for everyone. And we have consistently churned out studies that show that there is no discernable economic benefit to Daylight Savings Time. Studies are also showing that we’re burning slightly more energy with DST, not saving it. Hawaii and Arizona don’t observe Daylight Savings Time, so there is no reason for the rest of us to do it, too.
As a parent, I don’t like trying to explain why it’s bedtime when the sun is still up. I don’t like having to close all the shades in order to simulate night time and get the kids to settle down for bed. We’ve all gone through this and I think we can say we’ve had enough.
Polling on DST has been fairly consistent for the last decade or so, but in recent years, it’s been trending negative. Hashtags like #ditchtheswitch and #locktheclock have turned up. As of last year, 7 in 10 Americans said they wanted to keep it where it is. Some wanted DST all year round. Some wanted Standard Time all year round. The consensus is to set it and forget it. Just. Stop. Moving. It. I’m with them.
So no matter who wins the election, that’s one of the priorities. I guess I have to wonder what genius figured out there might be a political advantage by moving the clock so close to election day. But if we ditch the switch and just leave the clocks at Standard Time or Daylight Savings Time, I don’t really care which one, but we just leave it, we might have better elections, too.
After this election, I will nudge the current crop to lock the clock. If there is a lame-duck session between now and January, Trump could make this one thing his crowning achievement. I think even Mitch McConnell could get that one through. And if not this year, then the next. I can see it happening in my lifetime. I just hope I don’t have to wait very long for it because I think it’s time to put a fork in it. To me, Daylight Savings Time is done.